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Identity theft and the law

In today's rapidly developing technological society, internet crimes are shifting into public focus. Furthermore, identity theft has been a growing issue, especially in areas of southern California. Identity theft is a common crime in all parts of the United States, and can occur in more ways than many might assume. As of 2008, the law protects individuals in situations involving identity theft and internet-related crimes. 

NBC News recently covered a series of raids in Los Angeles and Orange counties as part of federal identity theft, credit card and narcotics probes. The probes had been ongoing for years, and involved Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other law enforcement agencies. The arrests centered around "skimming" operations, which refer to the use of inconspicuous devices that can collect and store data from the magnetic strips on the backs of credit and debit cards. In addition to stealing identities, suspects can maintain credit card data and continue to use it or sell the information through a contact or on the internet.

The City of Irvine's official website lists information on internet and computer crimes such as identity theft. Victims of these crimes may contact the Irvine Police Department Computer Crimes Unit, which works in connection with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Internet crime, like any other crime, is worth reporting to local law enforcement; it is also handled in accord with other investigational crime units, including the FBI and the Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Lab. The City of Irvine's page on internet crimes notes that, especially in today's technologically-driven era, criminals are often found using computer, cellular phones other technology tools while committing their crimes.


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